A fundraiser for former President Donald Trump lost a bid to punish Gibson Dunn & Crutcher for an alleged conflict of interest by representing a defendant accused of hacking his email server.
Elliott Broidy failed to meet the burden showing Gibson Dunn committed misconduct, Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil of New York’s Southern District ruled Wednesday.
Broidy, once the deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee, since 2019 has pursued claims alleging Kevin Chalker and his firm Global Risk Advisors hacked his email server and stole his private communications on behalf of Qatar.
Broidy pushed for sanctions against Gibson Dunn for representing Chalker. Zainab Ahmad, a Gibson Dunn lawyer on the defense team, obtained confidential information about Broidy whle she worked in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office during the probe into Russian election interference, Broidy’s counsel alleged.
Gibson Dunn has denied the claims; Ahmad submitted a declaration noting Broidy was never a subject of Mueller’s probe and that she never learned of any confidential info relevant to him.
Chalker, however, last year hired new counsel after Broidy signaled his intent to seek Gibson Dunn’s disqualification. Broidy still pushed for sanctions against the firm, as well as an order awarding his legal team fees and expenses for litigating the issue.
Gibson Dunn’s position that it had no conflict of interest in the representation of Chalker “is not ‘utterly lacking’ a factual basis,” Judge Vyskocil found.
“While there may be facts that support that Ms. Ahmad was, in fact, conflicted, the court cannot conclude that Gibson Dunn’s actions were ‘utterly devoid of a legal or factual basis,” Vyskocil said. She noted that the conflict issue is “moot” given Gibson Dunn is no longer involved in the case.
Gibson Dunn and a spokesman for Broidy did not immediately return requests for comment.
Chalker is one of several people Broidy has targeted over an alleged hack-and-smear campaign. He is also pursuing claims in Washington against a group of US lobbyists.
On Nov. 14, a judge overseeing that matter denied ArentFox Schiff’s motion to sanction Broidy after his legal team revealed a cache of the firm’s documents provided by its former client, Joey Allaham. Allaham, a former lobbyist for Qatar, turned over the documents to Broidy after settling, waiving any privilege ArentFox may have over them, the judge said.
Broidy is represented by attorneys from Kasowitz Benson Torres. Chalker is now represented by Hughes Hubbard & Reed.
The case is Broidy Capital Management v. Global Risk Advisors, S.D.N.Y., No. 1:19-cv-11861-mkv, 11/15/203